President Neukom’s Call for Support for Pakistan

Dear fellow lawyers:

Most of us have been shocked by the recent events in Pakistan. Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s actions — suspending the constitution, shutting down the Supreme Court, and jailing more than 3,000 lawyers — are a clear breach of the rule of law. The American Bar Association, along with other bar associations across the United States and around the world, immediately spoke out against them.

Since then, many of us have wanted to further support our colleagues in Pakistan, who have been violently detained for resisting injustice. Many state and local bar associations have shown great leadership in their communities by organizing events to protest conditions in Pakistan.

The ABA is planning a national effort to show solidarity with lawyers in Pakistan and to support restoration of the rule of law there. We are organizing a march in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, November 14, 2007, where a critical mass of lawyers wearing black suits will gather and walk around the United States Supreme Court Building.

To make this event truly national, we need your help. I urge all state and local bar associations to hold similar events on the same day. Imagine the impact of lawyers from all regions and walks of life speaking with one voice on one day in support of justice. Together, we can mobilize American lawyers and show our united support for the rule of law and lawyers in Pakistan.

The Monroe County Bar Association (NY) held such an event yesterday, walking from the bar center in downtown Rochester to the federal court building, where president Thomas Smith made a statement. The Bar Association of San Francisco is gathering today with other Bay Area legal organizations in front of the federal building. The New York City Bar and the New York County Lawyers Association are planning a rally for next Tuesday. You can see the statements that other bar associations have issued at Please contact either Roseanne Lucianek at or Joanne O’Reilly at in the Division for Bar Services with further questions.

It is essential that American lawyers work together to support the rule of law. Please join our effort to show the world that Pakistan’s lawyers are not fighting alone.


William H. Neukom

President, American Bar Association